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Apr 29,2021
PCNs have now successfully established themselves, and are beginning to find their place in the NHS. They have usually engaged a number of ARRS resources, are normally delivering the COVID vaccines, and have, in general, achieved more in the last 2 years than many people believed possible. With 99% of practices now members of a PCN, many of the key organisations in healthcare are talking about how PCNs can deliver for them and their patients. In many ways it is hard to describe PCNs as anything...
Dec 08,2020
The Covid-19 Vaccination Collaboration Agreement: Aim for Pragmatism not Perfection The deadline for GP practices to commit to the Covid-19 Enhanced Service specification was midnight on 7 December. Signing up committed Practices to work together to deliver the vaccine in ‘PCN Groupings’, and to sign ‘Covid-19 Vaccination Collaboration Agreements’.  Covid-19 Collaboration Agreements must be signed by all member practices before administering the vaccine, so most PCN Groupings have less than a...
Oct 13,2020
PCNs were set up at great speed last year. They were usually established as a cost-sharing arrangement between practices that had signed the PCN DES. This has worked well but problems are beginning to emerge as PCNs gain scale. This video blog examines the various emerging issues, and explains how incorporating a PCN can address many of them. It also explains the steps you will need to take to incorporate your PCN.  There are currently very few incorporated PCNs, but many of our PCN...
Sep 09,2020
If you are thinking of acquiring, merging with or disposing of a primary care practice, then this blog is for you.  Firstly, let’s look at two scenarios. When a patient attends an appointment with his GP, the GP will probably ask a series of questions, conduct a physical examination and review the patient’s medical record. Likewise, when buying a house – you will engage a solicitor to make some pre-contract enquiries, to carry out some property searches at the Local Authority and Land Registry...
Jun 30,2020
Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are now a year old. The first year was a time of building foundations, but the 98% sign up to the 2020/21 DES proves that PCNs have become an important part of the primary care landscape in England. We can now expect to see a rapid build up in PCN resources, as PCNs take up increasing responsibility for local healthcare issues. What’s the problem with existing models? While PCNs were operating at a small scale it made sense to keep them simple. Understandably, many...
Mar 27,2020
The new GP Contract for 2020/21 was recently published. Unsurprisingly, it contained a big emphasis on Primary Care Networks (‘PCN’s). It is becoming increasingly clear that PCNs are here to stay, and a significant share of future monies to General Practice will be routed through PCNs. There are already more additional PCN roles which have been set out in the new contract, and it is a reasonable expectation that by 2025 an average PCN will be responsible for managing costs of around £1m. With...
Apr 08,2019
The national template Primary Care Network Agreement has just been published by NHS England. As readers should be aware, the new Network Contract DES requires participating practices to form their PCN and submit various information by 15 May 2019. A completed ‘initial’ Network Agreement is the most substantial part of this submission and use of the national template is mandatory. The Network Agreement must then be finalised and signed by latest 30 June 2019. What is needed by 15 May? The...
Jan 16,2019
There is a tendency when new plans come out of the NHS for people to say they have seen it all before. Would this be a wise response to the Long Term Plan? Pleasingly, there is an acknowledgement of the many issues in primary care and a commitment that investment in primary medical and community services will grow faster than the overall NHS budget. Spend should be at least £4.5bn higher in 2024, but the extra money will come with strings attached. If applied consistently, this will mean...
Dec 13,2018
There are currently only four types of business vehicle permitted to hold GMS contracts. These are: Individual GPs (who have unlimited liability) Unlimited liability partnerships including at least one GP (the most common structure) Limited partnerships including at least one GP Companies limited by shares including at least one GP shareholder There are statutory mechanisms enabling a GMS contract to be transferred between types 1, 2 and 3, but no statutory mechanism enabling a transfer to or...
Mar 21,2017
As GP federations have become more established, we are receiving an increasing number of enquiries about the role of the federation’s officers. Most GP federations are organised as limited companies, with shares owned by the member practices. The role of the federation is generally to secure and manage healthcare contracts for their area, which will typically be delivered by some or all of the member practices. Like any other limited company, a federation and its activity will be overseen by a...

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